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Saint Leonard of Noblac

Born on May 19th (of which year we're not entirely certain), Saint Leonard was a nobleman in the Frankish court of Clovis I (Known as the founder of the Merovingian dynasty). During an invasion in which the Fankish army was losing, the Queen asked Saint Leonard to invoke the help of God in the battle. When he did, the battle ended quickly in the Frankish army's favor and the bishop of Rheims (Saint Remigius) proclaimed it to be a miracle from God. This miracle happened at Christmas of 496. That Christmas, King Clovis I, Leonard, and several thousand fellow noblemen converted to Christianity.

Saint Leonard asked King Clovis I for the right to pardon any prisoners that he could find worthy and was granted the right. He is today venerated as the Patron Saint of Prisoners and Imprisoned People's for the multitude he helped set free in the Kingdom. There are several writings attesting that when prisoners invoked his intercession, they would see the chains holding them break in half. He was offered a Bishopric but declined it. He retreated into the forests, living a life of austerity and prayer before entering the monastery at Micy near Orleans and studied under Saint Mesmin and Saint Lie.

Several years later he became a hermit living in the forest of Limousin. His prayers of intercession helped the Frankish Queen give birth to a heathy male child. For this miraculous act, he was granted royal lands at Noblac near the town of Limoges. It was here that he founded the abbey of Noblac and the town that grew around it Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat. Prisoners that had seen their chains break through his prayers and intercession brought the heavy iron chains to the abbey in homage and helped work the lands around the Abbey so that they could return to a normal life.

Saint Leonard died in 559 of natural causes. His resting place is a famous pilgrimage visit along the way to Santiago. The town of Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and retains the Romanesque collegial church and bell tower.

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